And they say you can never go back. Well maybe not, but you can sure hit the same co-ordinates and then dream that you're back.
And return customers based in Seattle sure doesn't hurt, either. Gave me a chance to go for an early morning hike.
The North Pacific smells like Eden. When you're deep in those woods, anyway. I just know I'm gonna get lost in those woods again tonight, Doc.
And while I was lost in those woods, I also
found some other old dream haunts of ours. Big Log!
That would be the sheriff's station and the Packard Sawmill, seen from unusual angles. There was a real world cop there guarding the place from rabid Twin Peaks fans whom I attempted to reassure that I was not, in fact, one of them. When he didn't believe me I had to sneak into those woods again for some guerrilla shots.
And if you don't know what Twin Peaks is, I suggest you Netflix it right now, loser. (It's the Great Grandfather of a prestigious TV family tree; Twin Peaks begat Northern Exposure and X-Files. X-Files begat Buffy, and Buffy begat all the other great TV shows of the day. Yes, including LOST.) Most of Twin Peaks' iconic scenes were filmed in and around North Bend, WA. Only a half hour drive or so East of Seattle.
I'm not going to show you the super dorky pictures that Julie and I took of us standing in front of that mural. Private collection only. Anyway, as you can see from their menu below, Twede's Cafe definitely capitalizes on their Twin Peaks history.
I have to say however that the coffee was only Damn okay, and that Julie makes a way deadlier Cherry Pie. Which is actually okay as far as nerd continuity goes because [nasal voice] actually, [pushes glasses further up bridge of nose] the damn fine cuppa coffee was served at The Great Northern and the Cherry Pie that was destined to kill Diane and Albert was served at the Lamplighter Inn, where Agent Cooper stopped at on his way in to Twin Peaks, not at the R&R Diner. The R&R diner coffee was the "Give yourself a present every day, Harry" coffee.
by the Tweety Birds swinging from their gibbets and other kitschy crap
all around the diner, I'm not sure that the current owners are very
concerned with creating an authentic Twin Peaks experience.
However, the pictures in the back were a good way to keep me from going all nasally on them and demanding to see the manager about the finer points of fan appeasement. That and the Twin Peaks magnet I bought for my fridge.
We didn't have a whole lot of time in North Bend, sadly, so I didn't get to track down the more obscure sites of Twin Peaks as I would have liked, but we hit the other big one.
And a higher exposure shot, because it was the wrong time of day to get a decent shot and I think weird shots of The Great Northern are cool.
Also, we found Ronette's train trestle. I think. It looks like it, right?
Well, I'm going back to Seattle in March, so maybe I'll be able to find some more geek time then.
This is freaking crazy. I can't believe that in the world of YouTube where anyone can record anything and slow it down, FOX was dumb enough to try and pull this 1984 crap. But it kind of shows their hand, which is nice.
Bizarre, right? Don't Deny what, exactly? Don't Deny all reality? That doesn't seem so crazy, unless they're trying to say not to deny the pleasures of watching their reality channel. The images don't make me feel better about it, that's for sure. It was fairly amusing until I saw this one:
Holy SCARY 1984, FoxMan! No You Shut up! No YOU! And what's with the teeth? I think seeing a skull in that noise is reaching a bit, but even so, there is definitely some weird shit going on there. I found this stuff over at What Is Hidden? Which is a weirdly incomplete site. What's even crazier over there is that in the forum, people are talking about how awesome one of the reality shows is! Don't they get it? They've been told to think it's awesome!
So if you're one of those crazy people who still think that the spin stops at FOX, clearly it's time to reevaluate. Not just your viewing choices, but probably your life. Because everything you think, all of your opinions and all of your beliefs may have been implanted into your brain by scary little blue men!
For some inexplicable reason the other day, the words "You got served" came out of my mouth. It's really about the most horrifying thing I can imagine, linguistically speaking. I don't remember what happened that elicited that appalling phrase from my head, but even at the time that I said it I had no idea where on Earth my brain got the idea that it was an acceptable response to anything. And then I realized I had recently seen a TV show where, and not to be overly descriptive but there's a point to this, some portly black woman had used that phrase. It had stuck in my mind because she had at first been an extremely annoying character, and she'd been "talking smack" about someone who'd "been served", which made me want to plug my ears. But during the course of the show, she became a much more interesting character and I found myself liking her, despite myself. She was smart, witty, and other than the occasional unpalatable urban street slang thrown in the mix, extremely engaging.
So I then realized that I'd probably used said horrific phrase because I'd found this TV show character funny, and that offhand phrase of hers which I'd found repugnant must have retroactively stuck in my addled brain, and that's when I realized that even though I have been watching zero to even less TV, I was still watching too much if my speech patterns were being interfered with in such a manner. It's amazing how little it takes to affect human behavior, isn't it?
But then something even more shocking happened. I'd had a picture of this character in my head, and her saying about someone or other getting served, but I couldn't remember what the hell TV show I'd been watching that she was on, or what the show was about, or maybe it was a movie she was in? It was one of those niggling little things that drives you crazy because you can't stop thinking about it until you figure out the answer, and I was extremely irritated that I was wasting even this fraction of brainpower on something Hell-evision related. When I eventually figured it out, I had a lot of soul-searching to do: Turns out she wasn't a character on a TV show. She was an actual real person who had been hired from my company's Human Resources department to come to our work retreat and give all the employees a two-hour lecture on Harassment, sexual and otherwise, in the workplace and why one should avoid it.
I'd garbled a two-day old memory from a real live person into a TV show. I'm mistaking real life for TV. It's the opposite of the usual problem people have (mistaking TV for reality), but still, it's worrying. I feel a bit panicky about it, if the truth may be told.
By the way, the reason her character... dang it! I mean, she,
the actual human being, was so engaging and funny as a Sexual Harassment lecturer was because she was one of those people who pretty
much broke every sexual harassment law in the book during class in
order to show us what we shouldn't be doing. Very effective technique.
In other exciting events, Wall-E is a great movie. Don't let those Right-Wing Republican nutjobs tell you otherwise. (If you haven't seen it, that link provides not only hilarious fat complaining Republicans, but some major plot spoilers.) I think my favorite line from that article is: "Stolyarov cites the fact that fast-food restaurants are serving “health
foods,” “landfills are remarkably effective at storing garbage,” and
that traditional farming is, like, hard and stuff, as flaws in the
I haven't had my own personal access to Television in maybe two decades. I despise TV, and have had nothing but disdain for it since... well I don't know exactly when, but at some point I decided that it was the devil. I'm not against a good show, mind you. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the greatest TV show of all time. Actually, Firefly is quite good too. And Angel. And those are great shows because Joss Whedon created them, who is a genius. So I'm not a total TV snob. I believe that film can be art, even on TV. But art on TV tends to get canceled quickly, unless you're lucky. But my philosophy has been, for the past few years, that anything that is actually good, I'll hear about it and can watch it on DVD someday. That's how I discovered Buffy; I never would have chosen to watch that show, thinking that it sounded like the dumbest idea for a show on Earth. Especially because the movie was so bad. But I knew some people who really liked it, so I borrowed a friend's DVDs and gave it a shot. I was able to watch all 7 seasons of it without a single commercial break... which is the point I've laboriously been coming to.
Commercials are the devil. I hate hate Hate HATE them. In fact, I've been known to scream at them in disgust. I don't feel that TV programming is what is responsible for dumbing down America, although there are certainly plenty of shows out there that I wouldn't wipe my bottom with. Hell, if I was a personal Nurse for a quadriplegic Stalin I wouldn't wipe his bottom with them. Well ok, to be fair, I'd never be a personal Nurse for any quadriplegic, Stalin or otherwise. Gross. I'm just not that selfless a person. But still, you take my meaning. Next to commercials, aimless channel surfing is the next in line for most mind-numbing thing ever. Anyway. I feel that commercials, and most popular TV shows, are a way of making people think that raving lunatic morons are funny, or even normal. Like those Wendy's commercials where the black guy wearing a Wendy's wig is trying to convince people that they have a constitutional right to a better burger. I know, I know, it's supposed to be funny. Ha ha we're just kidding buy our burgers. But something about it makes me want to commit suicide inside.
So having said all of this, I finally caved and got cable. I did this because, earlier this year I was happily enjoying my HDDVD player when BAM! Blu-Ray won the High Definition battle, making my HD collection obsolete. No more new movies in that beautiful, pristine format I had so recently become accustomed to. Believe me, you have not seen Unforgiven, The Shining, or 2001: A Space Odyssey until you've seen them in HD. I could have made the switch to Blu-Ray, except that the cheapest player is still around $400, the discs cost like $30 to $40 a pop, and a few other reasons that you probably don't care about, but I do. HDDVD players were around $200, and the discs were usually around $20. Sigh. But so I got cable, because they offer some channels in HD, and I was really wanting to watch some stuff in HD again.
I haven't had it on much since I got it, since I don't actually spend all that much time watching TV anyway. I tend to watch a movie with dinner, and that's about it. But I've enjoyed a few things... I got to watch The Lost Boys in HD, and the other night I tried out the HD pay-per-view channel and saw The Golden Compass. Very nice! But last night, something happened which made me decide that cable in my house is a short lived phenomenon. Spiderman was on TNT HD, and I was all excited because I'd been curious what that looked like in HD. When TNT plays movies, they have commercial breaks. A commercial for a Stouffer's TV dinner came on. I was already irritated by the spate of obnoxious pandering-to-the-lowest-common-denominator commercials I'd been forced to sit through between segments of Spiderman, and the worst part is that they tend to play the same 10 commercials on every break, just in case you'd forgotten about their stupid product that nobody needs from ten minutes ago. Oh, I also have to say that the worst commercials to sit through (Well, they're all horrible. It's so hard to chose the worst, actually, that anytime I complain about any commercial it's going to be the worst.) are the chain restaurant ones where they show you large pictures of gross greasy things that come in food-like shapes and are supposed to be appetizing, but are in fact unbelievably nauseating, and are the worst reason to have HD channels.
(Keep in mind that these pictures, as disgusting looking as they are, are not even what the food you order will actually look like in reality. The actual food always looks limp in comparison to the ads. Gross and grosser. Blechh.)
So this Stouffer's TV dinner commercial came on. And it combined just about everything I could possibly hate in a commercial. It starts off with a shot inside of a moving car; Mom and Dad are in the front and three noisy brats in the back, eating some sort of take out and all looking generally miserable. Then the voice over comes on and says, "When did this become our idea of a sit-down dinner?" Several big gross photos of greasy Stouffer's TV dinners later, and a satisfied family sitting down at home to eat them, and I was screaming, frothing at the mouth, unleashing a stream of obscenities at the TV as though I had just been told I had to wipe Stalin's immobile ass. I mean, seriously, Stouffer's TV Dinners have the audacity to lament the disappearance of a sit down family dinner, and try to convince you that they offer a product which solves said dilemma!!? This is what is going to end us, I swear. The problem is is that people just pretend like it's no big deal to have to witness such towering banality, that it's just a commercial and of course it's dumb but it doesn't really affect me. But it's not true. People, you have no idea how much it affects you. Seriously, try not watching TV at all for a time; try turning off your cable for say 6 months. Then go back and watch some... you'll be appalled at the drivel you're made to swallow.
You might think that you can control it. You know, flip to another show while commercials are on, or mute it or whatever. But I'm telling you, having cable in the house is no different than keeping heroin in the cabinet for medicinal uses when William Burroughs is your best friend and drops by all the time. I don't have any TV addict friends who drop by to get a TV fix, and TV is an addiction I gave up long enough ago that it tastes like ashes to me now, so I'll keep it around for the moment, until I can find a better HD solution, but please. If you ever realize that I've relapsed into couch potatoism, please come over and punch me in the head really hard. I'm begging you, intervene. I think I'll be fine, you know. I gave up smoking and fast food. I'm sure I can keep away from idly turning on the TV for no good reason. I have plenty of methadone, I mean DVDs to get me through the more difficult moments. I'm just saying, you know, TV commercials are worse for you than smoking, fast food, or heroin, so I'm a little more nervous about it.
I saw The Kids In The Hall last night! They came to the State Theater in Easton, and of course, as any truly rabid KITH fan, I'd had my tickets since they first went on sale a month or so ago. Julie and I rode my awesome new fun machine (i.e. motorcycle) out on route 611 to go see them.
Let me start out, right off the bat, by saying that they were awesome. They are, of course, among the greatest comedy troupes of all time. They had a TV show which lasted for four glorious seasons, and a fifth merely great one. For the last decade or so they've done various things on their own, NOT as a group, which always seemed insane to me. Their particular brand of comedy never seemed like it could function apart from each other, and their checkered solo careers bear that sentiment out, I believe. Dave Foley was the most successful of them, having a leading role in the sitcom News Radio and I think he's hosted Celebrity Poker as well (actually, the Head Crusher made fun of him for that in a very funny encore skit), and the others have had various degrees of success themselves... Scott Thompson had a bit part in Mickey Blue Eyes and a stint on Larry Sanders' show, Bruce McCulloch directed a few movies and had a couple of guest appearances on the Gilmore Girls, Mark McKinney was in Saturday Night Live for a bit and starred in some movie with Isabella Rossellini, and Kevin McDonald had four measly lines in Galaxy Quest, and has done various cartoon voices and other guest appearances.
They are all very funny people, but together, they're gold. I'm extremely happy that they finally figured that out. They got back together and wrote a bunch of new material, and last night's show was fucking hilarious. Pardon my potty mouth, but that's how funny they were. Here's a video which they used to open their show:
The part where Bruce mouths something and then Mark is like "Oh yeah those guys are crazy", they voiced over in a very Price-Is-Right announcer-like voice; "Easton, Pennsylvania!" It was funny live, in an easy joke kind of way. Then at the end when they all run out, they all run on stage chasing Kevin in his underwear with an apple in his mouth. They did some really funny new material, including a sketch about two men fighting over an imaginary girlfriend, Bruce as a superhero called Superdrunk, a great Hitler/beer/blowjob/time machine bit, and even one with an evil soul-sucking baby. Of course they brought out some of their beloved favorites, Chicken Lady, Gavin, Head Crusher, and the two Kathies, (with one of them on a new diet plan called "tweaking on crystal meth") but they used new punchlines for them, so it was all good. No, brilliant. Anyway, guess you had to be there.
Okay okay, I'm done now. I'd post them all, if I could. They're so awesome.
"Eating everything you want is not that much fun. When you live a life
with no boundaries, there’s less joy. If you can eat anything you want
to, what’s the fun in eating anything you want to?" -Tom Hanks
I've recently lost about ten pounds. I've been going to the gym since September, not exactly regularly due to work travel, but whenever I'm home at least every other day if not every day. The first three months or so were kind of slow going... my stamina on the treadmill got incrementally better, but I maybe lost a pound or three during that time. Then, in the last month and a half or so, it began to drop rapidly. One time I weighed myself, right before I went to Fort Lauderdale, and I was at 204 lbs. When I got back from being down there for a week and not getting any real exercise, after my first workout I weighed myself again, and I was at 198. Then, once more due to work and other unforeseen drama in my life, it was two weeks before I was able to hit the gym again. So this past Monday I weighed myself and I was still at 198, and yesterday at 197 & ¾! It seems as though I've hit a certain mark in my exercise where my body has finally started to believe that I'm really serious about the whole thing, and has decided to pay attention. Sweet!
My diet probably also has something to do with it. I've been %90 faithful to my 2007 New Year's resolution to give up fast food, and I buy lots of whole wheat products and vegetables at the grocery nowadays. I still indulge in the occasional pizza of course, but I never buy chips or other junk food any more except for Tostitos (which they now have a whole wheat variety of!) and salsa. I use Olivio instead of butter, and buy organic milk. I've cut waaay back on my cheese intake also, mostly because I was paranoid about my cholesterol levels. I haven't eaten more than a pint or two of ice cream in the last six months. I take a bevy of vitamins in the morning and I drink Metamucil with dinner every night. And then I take some more vitamins.
This probably sounds annoying to you. I sincerely apologize. Before I got all health conscious, I hated people that exhibited this sort of behavior and then that's all they would talk about. But what I want to say about it is that I've learned some extremely valuable things by doing the gym thing, and they're not even all fitness related. But this first one is: Exercise and diet are mutually reinforcing.
When I first started going to the gym, I didn't really care too much to change my eating habits. I just wanted to get on the treadmill and work off those extra calories I'd eat the night before. I mean, I cared a little, because I'd just been told that my cholesterol was too high, but overall I still ate what I wanted. But once I'd been doing it for a few weeks, I found that when I went
to the store, I'd pay more attention to those food content labels. I found that I actually wanted, for the most part, to avoid junk and high fat foods that I loved, because I'd been so good about working out that I wanted to control my calorie count in order not to undervalue all that hard work. The diet thing actually came very naturally... at no time did I ever feel that I was giving up food that I couldn't bear to give up. I never had to plan to diet... it just happened rather organically. Except for my Fast Food resolution. But even that made sense at the time because I'd just come back to the States and was indulging in all the bad stuff I'd missed while I'd been away, and I knew that if I didn't put the kibosh on it quick I'd be looking like the inbred lovechild of Mayor McCheese and the Grimace in no time.
I've learned loads of other things at the gym, but I'm sure they're all clichéd... More energy, better moods, blah blah blah. I mean, it's all true, but everybody's heard all that before. The only surprises in the whole enterprise for me have been that whole unforced desire to diet thing I just said and also the fact that losing weight happens quicker and more abruptly than one might have thought. Granted, it took me five months to get to that point, but once I finally did, cool. But there's one more thing, fairly unrelated to health but very interesting.
My gym has about 12 big TVs up on the wall in front of the cardio machines so that you can walk, run, bike, or do your elliptics while watching whatever mind-numbing crap is on whichever TV station. Each of the machines has a little channel box which you can plug your headphones into so that you can listen to whichever one you choose. Anyway, I always listen to my mp3 player, but I'll watch the TVs without sound anyway as it helps to distract from the pain of jogging. But yesterday they had CNN, FOX, and MSNBC news on at the same time, and I noticed that all three of them were running the same story at the same time; the one about Bush's latest bribe to us. You remember; he bribed us with a tax rebate when he first got into office, in the hopes we'd like him and not make too much noise when he later unveiled his diabolical plans to destroy the world, and now he's doing it again in the hopes that we'll all go "Oh see? He's not so bad." Jerk-off.
Anyway, that's not my point. My point was that I was watching these three major news networks broadcasting this story simultaneously, and not only the same story, but the same news blurbs under the talking heads, the same exact camera angles, and the same commercial breaks. Different commercials, though. At first I was kind of not too freaked out by it, because it's a big enough story that sure, they're all going to be there at the same time. But I'm on the treadmill for 35 minutes, and the stories continued to triplet each other, even the less important ones. Some news from Iraq, the Roger Clemens on steroids thing. For my entire 35 minutes on the treadmill, all three of those news networks parroted each other exactly, I swear to God. It was very upsetting. It's like they are so confident in their ability to slop feed us whatever nonsense someone is telling them to without anybody noticing or caring that they weren't even attempting to keep up the appearance of being different news sources anymore. They were all using the same camera guy, for God's sake! The guy typing up the word blurbs at the bottom of the screen is working for all three major news networks! I wonder how long before they convince everybody that they may as well conglomerate into one big news agency since their news is identical in importance, content, and spin, anyway. And how long before it's just el Presidente giving us his daily benediction, because if he doesn't say it, it's not worth knowing.
I do have to say though that seeing Bush's monkey face on the TV while jogging is really good for the heart rate. I instantly get angry and that adrenaline rush of hate really gets me going.
I think that Ricky Gervais is the funniest man alive. I just watched the British version of 'The Office' for the 4th time... and every time I watch it it's the same. It's so funny that rather than laughing periodically as one would at, say, the American version's gags, I am instead consistently filled with a deep internal laughter and a heady sense of well-being. It's so funny that I can't laugh, because nobody can laugh that hard. It has to be released as great sighs on a regular basis; as pressure is released from a valve. The first time I saw the series, there was one scene in particular that was so uncomfortably funny, so cringing, that I actually did a sitting 360° turn on the end of my bed, because I couldn't stand to sit still from discomfort.
So I just applied to a Frequent Flier program... I've never done that before, which is probably crazy considering all the flying I've done in the last few years. I'm not sure why I never did... It seems like I never flew on the same airline more than once or twice and even though I know there is that whole partner airline thing that they do, it just didn't seem worth it. Well, I can be pretty dumb about things sometimes. I think it's awesome that even though my company paid for the ticket, I can redeem the miles. My new job is so cool.
This past week has been interesting. Another thing I love about this job is the drive to work itself, which is a rare thing to love about a job. I live about 15 minutes away from it, and to get there I take River Road from the Water Gap to Fernwood. For those that aren't familiar with the area I live in, River Road is a State Park road which runs through protected, and therefore quite natural and mostly untouched forest land by the Delaware River, and it is an extremely beautiful drive. And this time of year, with all the vegetation coming to life, it smells awesome. It's a good way to start (and end) the work day, is all I'm saying.
Also, I've figured out what my job actually is a little better by now of course, and it's not as simple as they made it sound when I applied for it, naturally. I will spare you the full job description, but suffice it to say there seem to be a thousand little details which I have to remember every time I go out on one of these trips, which in a way I enjoy because it's distracting and makes me feel like I'm actually getting paid for a reason for once (It's been a few years since I felt like I was actually earning my pay) but on the other hand they probably mean that on most trips I won't get to actually enjoy my surroundings very much, or get much out of the travel part of the whole deal.
My upcoming trip to Wyoming however, will be a small exception because since I crash coursed it this week, they only gave me the barest bones of the normal responsibilities, and it looks like I will have two to three days of free time, and Yellowstone is a mere 5 hour drive from where I'll be... Don't know exactly how that's going to pan out, but I'm looking forward to it.
Anyway, there are two links I keep meaning but forgetting to post. For anybody that's interested in computer junk, here's the website for my new company, which lists all of the training courses and facilities which we offer. And for anybody who is interested in Blacksmithing, here's the website for Artisans of the Anvil, where I'm taking classes. They have some great pictures in their portfolio of their past work. Really beautiful stuff.